Monday, May 01, 2006

A Roundup of News on "the Other" major labor demonstration ... this one in Tehran!

The Iranian people came out in force to express their anger at the Iranian regime's failure to listen to their needs. The regime fears its own people more than a sanctions or military strikes. It knows well the overwhelming anger people have towards the regime and how quickly regimes can change.

Therefore the regime organized its own May Day or International Workers Day march at the former US Embassy in Tehran hoping to control the event. This move angered workers and student groups who called this a bogus event.

But things did not turn out as the regime hoped. Angry workers went to the regime's march and hijacked it instead. The Iranian people used this government sponsored opportunity to come out in force and make their voices heard.
  • Reuters reported that "the gathering had been organized by the Islamic regime to show off public support for its disputed nuclear drive but quickly transformed into a protest over economic conditions."
  • CNN, yes CNN, reported that 10,000 workers joined in the demonstration and called it "the most vociferous May Day demonstration the Islamic state has seen in years."
It is very encouraging to see CNN and Reuters report on the events.

Unfortunately, most of the other major news sources, like the BBC, ignored the anger expressed at the regime and repeated the regime's claim the anger was aimed at the U.S. or showed brief video clips showing angry Iranians with signs. Fortunately, we have published translations of some of the signs.
"we have not been paid in 14 months"

"Why do you make promises you know you will not keep?"

"To strike is our undeniable right!" instead of the regime's current favorite slogan "Nuclear technology is our undeniable right". (see more of the signs and translations here). Photos.
Azarmehr added an interesting story:
Only a few minutes after the rally started however, the Islamic Republic Law Enforcement Forces told the workers and the students to disperse. The crowd instead refused shouting "Today is Worker's Day".

When the riot squad got hold of a student and started beating him up, a worker who was holding his infant child, faced the riot squad and shouted at them, "beat me up instead, for I have failed my wife and children, I have not been paid for three months and my family are starving". His constant cries while holding his baby, attracted more passers by and they grew more sympathetic with the workers and the students in the rally.

The Islamic anti-riot squad quickly dispersed the crowd before it grew any bigger. The crowd retreated shouting "Shame on you, Shame on you". At least 15 people were arrested in the very first few minutes of the rally, including Kayvan Rafii, a student activist.

A larger rally took place in Taleghani Ave. when the workers again refused to disperse and shouted
"Let Palestine be, think about us for once"
"Unions, Strikes, are our obvious rights"
The workers then proceeded towards the Tehran university shouting "The Workers, The Students, United we Stand".
We also published several other related reports:
  • Iran Press News reported that student supporters as well as workers from various walks of industry, in a show of solidarity, joined the protesting bus drivers in showing support for the leader of the Bus Drivers Union, Mansour Osanlou, held in Evin Prison charged with ‘conspiracy to disrupt social order.’
  • Iran Press News reported that the Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters in a statement of solidarity on International Workers Day said: "The powerful and filthy rich Islamo-Mafia, aided by their oppressive intelligence and security forces has suffocated any complaint, protest and appeal by the worker and laborer class of Iran." Therefore, we "announce our solidarity with these intrepid Iranians, especially those who like Mansour Osanlou."
  • SMCCDI reported on sporadic clashes have happened following the celebration of the International Workers Day in several Iranian cities.
  • Iran Press News also reported that workers from the Farnakh Textile factory gathered to protest by blocking the Tehran-Ghazveen and Ghazveen-Zanjon freeways. They said: “We have not been paid for 6 months."
  • Iran Press News reported that even at Tehran’s city hall more than 120 service workers have not been paid in 2 months.
Cliff May at NRO's The Corner, Adloyada and BeltwayBlitz also weighed in.

The Achilles heel of the Islamic Republic is its abuse of its "citizens."
Tags: , , ,